This article is a follow-up of a previous article I wrote, 11 Tips for making a fun platformer. Once again, this article focuses on platformers, but the philosophy behind each idea can be applied to any type of game, whether 2D or 3D. This time there are a few more practical tips.
I had just finished working on my latest card game; I was rather chuffed with it: the rules were elegant and nuanced: there was a wealth of strategies you could use in the game. I explained the rules to two friends, and they began to play. I was expecting them to be amazed with the game.
Instead, I was amazed with how one had managed to find a neat little trick to — unexpectedly — win the game: a loophole!
After the discovery, the game was never the same. I eventually decided to change the card game into a board game so that the game could keep my original idea, but without the loophole.
After the change in my game, I became obsessed with loopholes in games. I began to research them and find how they could affect games. In this article, I summarize my research. This article covers what loopholes are, and why they are bad, with a big list of generic types of loopholes that can be found in games. The article also gives some advice on how to find and correct these nasty little game breakers.
In a previous article, I gave you 11 Tips for making a fun platformer. That article had general tips that covered a wide range of game design tasks. This article looks specifically at the process of designing levels for a platformer. The process is a guideline and covers the steps from the initial idea to the final playable level.
Over the last month or so, Dev.Mag has published five interviews with indie developers discussing puzzle game design. In case you have missed the series, here are links to the articles:
- Rob Jagnow (Cogs)
- Guy Lima (Continuity)
- Ted Lauterbach (suteF)
- Dave Hall (Q.U.B.E)
- Teddy Lee (My First Quantum Translocator)
In this article, I give you my take on the info we gathered in our five puzzle design interviews; a kind of distillation of the various ideas the designers presented. The discussion below is terse with almost no examples; to see how these ideas play out in the design of actual games, you will find the original interviews more helpful.
Teddy Lee (from Cellar Door Games) created several popular flash games, among them the platform puzzler My First Quantum Translocator (MFQT), the infamous adventure puzzle game Don’t Shit Your Pants, and recently I Have 1 Day, an adventure puzzle game with an interesting meta task-scheduling puzzle on top.
We asked five developers of interesting puzzle games how they did it: what they consider a good puzzle, what processes they follow, and how they zone in on fun and manage difficulty. We will publish these interviews in the upcoming weeks; this is just a quick introduction that sets the stage for the words of wisdom from the puzzle design experts.
In Part 1 of Desktop Dungeons: Design Analysis, we looked at the core game play, interconnected choices, and tension of Desktop Dungeons. We saw that, despite its simplicity, this “ten-minute, one-screen” game offers the player endless variety through cleverly stacked core mechanics. In this part, we continue looking at what lies beneath this award-winning game; how choices are given meaning not only through their complexity, but also through the role they play in structuring an experience — an experience that progresses with the player, an experience that speaks a story.
A little more than a year ago, Rodain Joubert, innocently, put his latest creation on the NAG forums for community feedback. Even the first, raw prototype was liked right away. It was immediately accessible, and surprisingly rich. The 10-minute games that were promised were inevitably stringed together into many hours of play.
And there was lots of feedback. New versions were released, and a good game was transformed before our eyes into something special. At some stage, the gurus Danny Day and Marc Luck from QCF Design entered the scene; more versions came out, and something special became something that was nominated for two IGF awards, and finally won the IGF Excellence in Design Award.
And right now, players across the globe are waiting impatiently for the full version.
Desktop Dungeons has been skilfully designed. Here we will look analytically at that design, and learn some lessons that we can apply to our own games.
Board games, card games, and games involving dice have been around for longer than you’re probably capable of imagining. That’s a Cthulhu-damned long time – like before-Buddha-was-around long. And today, while most people assume that the monopoly on board and card games belongs to Texas hold ‘em and Cluedo, there’s a huge variety available for those that are willing to look.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t always space for new designs. And such a challenge never goes unnoticed by our wildly talented Dev.Mag crew.
Interface design is often one of the most challenging aspects of game development. There is a lot of information to convey to the player and little screen space with which to do it. When the interface is poorly designed, a good game concept can be reduced to a frustrating user experience.
There are several theories that can be used by designers to analyse a user interface and help them break down choices. The theory we will look at here is called diegesis theory. It is adapted from diegesis theory used in literature, film and theatre. Diegesis refers to the world in which the story is set, and hence it focuses on games as stories.
A platformer is a game in which a character runs and jumps around a level consisting of platforms floating in the air. Although this article focuses on platformers, the philosophy behind each idea can be applied to any type of game, whether 2D or 3D. This list does not only include tips for the product (a fun game), but also for the development process.